Greater Capital Region Food System Assessment

Assessment Mission:

To build equity and economic resilience in the Greater Capital Region Foodshed, specifically for regional producers and low-income consumers.


A Food System Assessment is a research project focused on the flow of food, from farm to plate, in a defined area. These projects serve as a tool for planning, policy, and actives within food systems. The Greater Capital Region Food System Assessment examines the regional food system functioning in the Greater Capital Region Foodshed and focuses on the food system sectors of consumption, distribution, processing, and production. This comprehensive food system assessment consists of two parts: a community food security assessment based on four counties of consumption (Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady) and a local food economy assessment based on the 11 county regional foodshed (Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington). The assessment will help the region understand the capacity for locally produced food to fill gaps in urban markets, including distribution infrastructure needs and local food processing opportunities.  A vast network of partner agencies, farms, businesses, educational institutions, and individuals representing all food system sectors worked together to guide the assessment process (see full list of partners at the bottom of this page). Capital Roots served as the lead organization for this project, which took place from 2016 to 2020.

Executive Summary

Read The Summary Here

In addition to the Executive Summary, there are four Section Chapters of the Assessment, including Consumption, Distribution, Processing and Production. These chapters explore the history of each sector in the region, explain our research methods in more depth, present local case studies, and introduce abstracts for the Assessment’s Research Reports.

Key Recommendations by Sector

Click on the quadrants for an in depth look.


Low-income residents will have consistent access to healthy and culturally important food and incomes that ensure food security.

All farmers will have a viable place in direct-to-consumer and regional wholesale markets, regardless of size, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers will have access to land and farm financing.

Food-based businesses will easily be able to process their products to add-value and find steady regional markets while sourcing from local farmers.

Local food will be distributed throughout the region in an equitable manner, and regional distributors will have investment and support as they are critical to the local food economy and community food security.

*Partners include Albany Community Action Partnership, Agricultural Stewardship Association, Capital District Regional Planning Commission, Commission on Economic Opportunity, Amy Halloran (local food author), Rocky Ferraro (regional planner), Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, Field Goods, The Food Pantries for the Capital District, Hawthorne Valley, Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corp., Indian Ladder Farms, New York Farm Bureau, Saratoga County EOC, Schenectady County Community College, SUNY Albany Office of Sustainability, SUNY Albany School of Public Health, SUNY Cobleskill and Whitney Young Health Centers.